Judge Larry Alan Burns read the order from the bench in court and appeared to choke up as he ordered the memorial’s destruction.
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After 24 years of litigation, a federal court revealed in an emotional hearing that it has ordered the famous Mount Soledad Cross removed from a veterans memorial, holding it is a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Since 1913, a cross has stood as the centerpiece of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial in San Diego, surrounded by nearly 3,000 granite plaques, individually honoring war heroes from every American war, from the Revolutionary War to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The structure is a 29-foot Latin cross, which was erected in 1954. For much of this time, it was in a city park in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego. Then, in 1989, the ACLU filed a lawsuit, arguing that allowing a cross on government land violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. This memorial has been embroiled in litigation ever since.

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